I had planned these photos of this gorgeous Poppy dress and Deer Arrow brooch set for a blog post, but this post will be so different from what I originally thought. I hope it doesn't take away anything from the lovely dress and brooch set.
My day started in an interesting manner when I was given a "compliment" on an instagram photo. I was told I don't look good in makeup, and the person who said this also said that he preferred "my natural self". Although the person had intended it as a compliment I found myself taking offence. First of all, saying I don't look good in one way is much more of an insult than a compliment. Secondly, this person preferred "my natural self". How I decide to look is a matter that is only decided by me. His sentiment for my natural self is completely irrelevant. It's my face and I'll wear makeup on it if that is what I want to do. See the actual "conversation" just below.
However, this sparked a thought that's been bothering me since. Where do people, and especially men, get the idea that they have a say at all in what I decide to look like? The discussion with this man turned to feminism, and I came to realise that this is a feminist issue.
I'm very privileged in that I live in a fairly gender equal nation. I'm not saying feminism is not needed here in Sweden, but in terms of gender equality there are places that are much worse off than Sweden. I tend to forget that all places are not like Sweden. So when the person asked me if I was a feminist and told me "I must drive my boyfriend crazy" I was strangely irritated. I am not used to comments like that. What bothered me were a multiple of assumptions that this person made:
1. Why am I assumed to be heterosexual? The spectrum of sexuality is varied and colourful. I could be anything for all you know! For the sake of this post I will share this: I do not identify as heterosexual!
2. Why am I assumed to have a boyfriend? Why do women always have to "belong" to a man? Why can't I be single? And not unhappily single and looking, but single because I don't want to belong to a man or another person! Single by choice! It's a thing - believe me!
3. Why is my assumed boyfriend assumed to not be a feminist? Feminism is not a fight for women, it is a fight for people who think that all people no matter gender or anything else should have the same social, political, economic and personal rights as the next person. It is very much a fight that men need to take on as well! If you believe in equality you are a feminist whether you like the term "feminist" or not!
And that's only a part of my thoughts. I'm rambling now, and I haven't digested the comments yet, but I needed to get my instant thoughts down somewhere before I exploded.
Moving on to this gorgeous dress by Poppy that I managed to get on sale and am so in love with! I adore the enormous skirt that is perfect for twirling and dancing around in. I love the summery stripes that make me think of hard sweets and ice lollies. I paired it with a beautiful handmade brooch from Deer Arrow's collaboration with the illustrator and my friend Morgane Carlier. The wee teapot and cup make me so happy! Which I definitely need now.
Brooch set: Deer Arrow
Uuuughhh! That butthead of an Instagram dude has made me see all kinds of red. What the heck? Who thinks it's OK to say that? And yes..why assume that you "belong" to a man who doesn't also believe in feminism? It's scary how close minded and disrespectful people can be to each other. I actually just had my first run it with a man who was catcalling me last night while I was doing an outfit shoot. I mean, how do you think that's a nice thing to do?ReplyDelete
I am sorry you had to deal with that, Mona! Very undeserved!
But let's move on from small minded people. Haha. You look absolutely lovely in this dress and that brooch set is the cutest thing I have ever seen! I also really like your hair in this post! Gorgeous as always!
I hope you are having a lovely weekend (despite that negativity!).
I wondered the same thing. It's not even anybody's place to say that!Delete
I'm so sorry! I hate catcallers. Since when is that considered a compliment - it's disrespectful and mean! You stand up for yourself. You're amazing!
Thank you so much <3 You are such a sweetie.
Thanks, you too!
Oh and thanks so much for the support <3Delete
WOW!!! Those are the most infuriating comments I have ever read! I'm so glad you shared this! I have definitely had men comment on how I look better without makeup, and it always made me so angry. they couldn't understand how that would not be considered a compliment. You explained it perfectly and it absolutely is a feminist issue.ReplyDelete
That man is an absolute idiot, but also a perfect representation of how misinformed men (and even women) can be about what feminism actually is and what a feminist actually looks like.
Btw, you look beautiful in anyway you choose to present yourself. <3
Thank you so much for your support!Delete
I felt like I had to share it, I was bursting with feelings.
I don't understand why they say that - like it's my face, I'll do what I want with it. If you change the "compliment" to something else, e.g. something you wear, you realise how much of an insult it is!
It's so frustrating.
Yes! So much ignorance around about feminism.
Thank you so so much Alexandra. Your comment and support means the world to me!
The person is an asshat. Urgh some people really! I'm sorry you had this experience and just for the record you look absolutely beautiful inside out with or without makeup! And that whole "I am man. I will validate you now!" Yeah, go take that shit somewhere else. I don't do anything for you or anyone else. And if I do, I will chose who I dress for and that also had nothing to do with random male specimens on the Interwebz. URGH! I think you should eat some cake and just sit and flip the computer screen off for a while <3 <3 <3ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for your support lovely Kat!Delete
Exactly, I don't need that! I just want people (men) to realise that not everything is about them! Some things are about me!
That sounds like a grand idea, and I will take your advice! <3 <3
HAHA, KAT! I think she says it all with the first line of her comment! Love it!Delete
Sometimes people on Instagram or social media as a whole for that matter really put their foot in their mouths!! It's really annoying when someone assumes that when a girl wears make-up they are doing it for any other reason than just liking to wear it and say things like 'you look better natural', what if natural to the girl is having lipstick on!?! And I'd love for more men and even women for that matter to realise that one doesn't need their approval to feel good about themselves or dress up for themselves. We don't do things for other people, self-care is so much more important than dressing for others, I wish more knew this and applied it to themselves. You do look amazing always, no matter if you wear make-up or dress up or not. It's your personality and yourself that shines through and the makeup and dresses and other things just compliment the spirit. This person is an idiot!! xxReplyDelete
Absolutely! I agree with you 100%Delete
Practising self-love is almost seen as odd nowadays, which really is a shame because it is so very important.
You are the sweetest ever, thank you so much. And just for the record, so are you! Thanks so much for the support! <3
UGH! I don't care if the commenter was a man or woman - that exchange was so annoying. I don't get why some people SEARCH for ways to blame the one defending herself. Oh so bc you speak up and have the guts to say "no thanks, I rock no matter what I look like" it means you're a "feminist" (and I put it in quotes bc to this person, it was a bad thing)? UGH! Kill me. Sorry you had to deal with that - you rock my socks off and are amazing no matter what you have or don't have on your face!! ;)ReplyDelete
Haha, yeah what you say is true, it just bothered me a tad more that it was a man.Delete
Yeah! I realised that he didn't think feminism is such a good thing, but I am proud to say I'm a feminist, but it's true what you say. It's like they try to find a reason for why I stand up for myself.
You're the best! Thank you so much for your support <3 You rock no matter what too <3
so so cute and vintage!ReplyDelete
I love this pill!
Grazie! That's very kind of you! <3Delete
I love your dress! It reminds me of candy, you are very pretty!ReplyDelete
Raindrops of Sapphire
Thank you so much! It reminds me of candy as well. It's a very fun dress!Delete
Thank you very much, so are you!
I got SO INFURIATED reading those comments. How dare ANYONE make those kinds of judgments? How dare ANYONE tell you to accept a back-handed compliment? How dare ANYONE insinuate that feminism is an ugly term? People like him make me so angry, I can't stand it. However, kudos to you for standing up for yourself and for all women by writing this post, and thank you for reiterating that feminism is about equality--it's as simple as that. My hope is that through education and speaking up, we can change the perception of feminism and make equality a reality for everyone. It takes women like you to stand up and speak out like this when we are wronged. Thank you again.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for your support darling Devinne. It saddens me that feminism is a derogatory term in certain circles, it's so not what it is supposed to be. Thank you so much for your intelligent comment, I agree with you 100% I wish for a wider acceptance of the term feminism as well, and I think you're right that we will accomplish that by educating and speaking about it!Delete
Thank you! Your support means everything <3 <3
Okay, I'm late to the discussion but I must say I like the turn this post took in the first few paragraphs. Personally, had he said that to me, I would have "seen" the compliment but feel offended anyhow as well. For starters, he could have said something along the line of: "Your face without make up is more to my liking, but that's just me." Instead of forcing his preference on you, he should have made it clear that he was only trying to give his opinion. By saying what he did, it was as if he was picking out swatches or other products to buy and he opted for the "natural you," as he put it, as if you were up for sale. Also, I believe that a compliment is only a compliment if the recipient feels that it's a compliment. Otherwise, it's really an insult.ReplyDelete
The worst part is: he doesn't even try to understand why you didn't his words were a compliment! He could've gone about it like so: "Oh, I'm sorry, have I offended you? Would you tell me what I did wrong?" But no! He HAD to go ahead and make it worse. If the person is a woman, though, I think it would have been so much worse, because a woman taking down another woman for such a simple matter is just baffling.
I'm glad you wrote about this. You are definitely the embodiment of a strong, independent woman!
Alive as Always
You are more than welcome to the discussion Bivi :)Delete
I tend not to agree with you though, I feel like if he would have said it in the way you suggested I would still have been offended. I'm not offended by the fact that he thought I look better without makeup, and I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion. What did offend me was that he felt like his opinion should matter to me. I felt like he basically said: "I'm a man, and I validate you". When I feel like I do not need a man to validate me, I can validate myself. My opinion on my face and body is the only one that matters.
I agree with you that he only made it worse though. Things would have gone a whole other way had he said what you said. It would have been much more of an open discussion and less slandering. And I agree about it being bad when women slander other women, it makes me sad beyond belief. But I still feel that it is much worse when a man feels like he can have ownership over a woman, by making remarks as such or acting a certain way. To me those two things are completely different subjects, where one is about equality and justice and the other is just a matter of pettiness.
I believe this became a much more interesting discussion as you entered it, it is interesting to hear what other women think and feel.
Thank you for your support lovely Bivi!
I read this post when you first published it and pondered on it for a longer while. I do not like to rush with my opinions so I'm late to the party but I hope my voice still will be welcome.ReplyDelete
I think the topic of body appropriation is a huge one. I mostly agree with what people wrote in this discussion and naturally I feel it was wrong of that man to say it. I would like to take this discussion even further because it sparked my interest and gave me food for thought. So.
While it does bother us so much when a man is as obvious and insolent as the man from your post, I do wonder if we see the same thing when women talk to us. I know women tend to be a tad more polite and will suggest something rather than bluntly ordain it but then again, the message is often similar. I feel we don't always see it that way and we tend to take it to heart just because another woman said it instead of dismissing it right away because someone --regardless of gender --is telling us what to do with our bodies. When I say "we", I mean me and a couple of friends of mine I've talked to about this and observed but I wonder how you see this, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts. After all, in the blogging community we are constantly bombarded with comments pertaining to our bodies and looks... and some of them can be quite assessing. And they mostly come from women. So I'd be interested in your thoughts if you wanted to share them!
You are more than welcome to the discussion, thank you so much for joining. And I appreciate the amount of thought that has gone into your comment.Delete
I would boil my answer down to this: I tend to agree with you. For me personally, I react very differently when a man says something to me versus a woman. And I think it has very much to do with the fact that I feel that men are trying to assert their power over women by making a comment. I would like to keep my answer short because this, as you said, gave me food for thought, and I would very much like to write a blog post about it. Would it be alright if I use your comment in a future post? Sort of to start off the discussion?
I loved the fantastic comment you've posted. I can't describe how much I like it when my mind starts racing with thoughts, and your comment ignited that in me. Thank you so much lovely Klara!
I'm so glad to see your response, Mona! Thanks! I also would love to read what you have to say on the subject. I would already want to write more because I can already see (I think) where this is going but I'll be smart and keep my thoughts for later ;). I really hope you write that post!Delete
Thanks again. It's so great to see that the blogging community can still be about so much more than just "you look cute!" statements ;).
Thank you Klara! You are more than welcome to write more, maybe it sparks another interesting conversation.Delete
Haha, thank you. You do look cute all the time though ;)
It's so interesting to me, too, to see that in this day and age people -- especially men -- feel as though they have the right to dictate how women look. I suppose I'm not too surprised, given American media (the only thing I can judge!) and how women are portrayed here versus men -- how products for women are all advertised around flaws or weaknesses that women have, while products for men are all advertised as men being strong/good looking/whatever. Or, women in films have to be young (ish) and beautiful while men can age or be plain and be considered just as good as their younger/more handsome counterparts. The world has taken great leaps towards human equality since the 50's and 60's, but it's definitely not there yet.ReplyDelete
And as far as that man and his comments, well. First of all, what an incredibly rude way to "compliment" someone -- negativity followed by "I prefer" does not equal a compliment. Ever!
And second of all... even my husband does not dictate how I look or what I wear (and has said so himself, that I should wear what I want). I dress or do my makeup specifically to please him sometimes, because I know what he likes and it's a good feeling to know when you're especially attractive to the person you're in love with, but on a day to day basis? I wear what I like, and he appreciates my uniqueness whether or not he actually LIKES what I'm wearing. Whether that be lots of makeup or a little, a crazy-out-there vintage dress or jeans.
So if I, a married woman, am not dictated by the one person who has a "right" (not really -- more in the sense that we belong to each other through the vows we've made, though we still retain our own free will to look how we choose -- but hopefully you understand what I mean by that!) to my body and appearance, why in the world would any other person ever assume they have any say in it?
Thank you for sharing these thoughts! And I also have to comment that your hair looks glorious piled up like this (although... your hair always looks glorious!) and that dress is so pretty! I'm off to look through all of the dresses at Poppy now and wish I hadn't vowed to not spend any extra money for a month!
I completely agree with you. We have a long way to go still. And I also think that media has a great impact for how we think of women.Delete
Yeah, he really didn't know how to compliment.
Once again I agree with you. And I understood what you mean by your husband having the right. Of course he doesn't but, for the sake of the argument he would be the man that would have the right to. It is entirely a mystery to me how some people think.
Thank you so much for your support and for your comment. I love reading what other people think about these matters.
Oh, you're the sweetest, thanks. I do have bad hair days, I never photograph them though ;)
Ah yes, Poppy just released their autumn collection. My wallet is in fear.
Thanks again so much for sharing your opinion.
Sorry Mona, I just found this post now and ... I ADORE IT!!! Thank you so much for speaking out loud what wasn't said far too long! I really love this post so much...so sorry for spamming my thoughts! :)ReplyDelete
It is horrible that we are living in a world where people are saying sentences like "You must drive your boyfriend crazy"... What the hell... No every boyfriend usually should be a feminist as well!! Rights for women are so important as rights for homosexual persons, refugees, etc. I don't get it why some people take the right to judge about others. If I'm wearing make up or not, if I dye my hair or not.... all that belongs to me and when I want to things I don't want to hear that you don't like it! We know we shouldn't bother but sometimes we struggle with insults or opinions from people we actually don't know or don't like.
Thank you Mona ... this post is so brilliant!!!!!
MORE CONFIDENCE LADIES!!!! :*
No need to apologise! Thank you very much lovely!Delete
I love to read your thoughts.
I agree, that boyfriends should strive for equal rights between men and women. I agree, I don't understand why either. It's just as you said - it belongs to you! I agree so much with you lovely Christine!
Thank you for your comment and for giving your opinion, I value it.
More confidence indeed!
Much love <3